Tarantula Nutrition

christin

Arachnosquire
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Jun 1, 2007
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I've been looking for information (scientific studies) on tarantula nutrition. Maybe someone could send me in the right direction? There seems to be alot of speculation out there about what to feed a T (or what not to feed a T) and how often. I read a really interesting post from the ATS Message Board:

http://atshq.org/forum/archive/index.php?t-1032.html

This guy made some interesting points (the post is halfway down.) There just has to be someone, somewhere that is doing research on these incredible animals, right? I'll search more later. Anybody have imput? Makes me want to go to go to school for arachnology or entomology, maybe I'll find a way to split myself in two--I'll send one half to bug school, and one half to art school. Oh, no...to much coffee is making me ramble on. Oh well.
 

Wadew

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Christin,
something that should also be taken into consideration is "variety in the diet of the feeder insect" I feel too often people focus on what to feed rather then what the feeder just ate before being fed! I feed my feeder insects a wide variety of food eg; cornmeal, blueberries ,strawberries, Kale, spinich collard greens etc... Gutloading the feeder is just as important if not MORE important then just variety in the offering.
Cheers Wade
 

cacoseraph

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Christin,
something that should also be taken into consideration is "variety in the diet of the feeder insect" I feel too often people focus on what to feed rather then what the feeder just ate before being fed! I feed my feeder insects a wide variety of food eg; cornmeal, blueberries ,strawberries, Kale, spinich collard greens etc... Gutloading the feeder is just as important if not MORE important then just variety in the offering.
Cheers Wade
from everything i have read it seems like leafs and other high surface area to volume foods are not good to feed to bugs unless they are pesticide free (NOT just organic, there are organic pesticides) as they are likely to have the most pesticide residue in them

basically for the same reason pregnant ladies shouldn't eat grapes, neither should bugs, i would think


but i FULLY agree that feeder feed nutrition is insanely important and a wide variety of safe feeder food is important. i swear, per unit i spend more money on my dang roaches food than i do mine. heh.
 

esotericman

Arachnoknight
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Much of the research on exoskeletal development is in economic entomology (think ants and termites).

As for our pets, it was stated many times at Acon and I fully agree and have said this many times, people overfeed!

What information are you looking for exactly?

Christian
 

dianedfisher

Arachnobaron
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331
Feeding the feeder food

Just my own opinion, but most of my feeder insects are fed to other herps along with my T's, so they are all gutloaded with high quality gutload and nutritious greens and veggies before they become "food" themselves. I don't see any way that it could be detrimental. I do not use the additional vitamin and mineral supplements that I use for my herps. Di
 

cacoseraph

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Just my own opinion, but most of my feeder insects are fed to other herps along with my T's, so they are all gutloaded with high quality gutload and nutritious greens and veggies before they become "food" themselves. I don't see any way that it could be detrimental. I do not use the additional vitamin and mineral supplements that I use for my herps. Di
basically HSATV (high surface area to volume) flora will container higher trace amounts of pesticides than the internal portion of a lower SATV, due to the pesticides leeching into the skin of the flora. so when i feed my feeders i always peel everything. the only leaf type flora i feed them is certified orgranic AND pesticide free. otherwise you are slow poisoning your bugs.
 

Syngyne

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Should I be feeding my crickets something other than Frosted Mini Wheats and peeled carrots?
 

sparular

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Jun 20, 2007
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For cricket health (and hence T health) I would feed more protein than frosted mini-wheats and carrots alone. Particularly if you breed females, they could use some dog or cat food or maybe beans for protein. The sugar in the cereal has a lot of calories and almost no vitamins, so maybe switch to unfrosted whole wheat cereal. The carrots have enough sugar for crickets.
On a discussion of nutrition and feeding I think also that when speaking of feeding regimes, we need to differentiate between adult diet and spiderling diet. The adults need less food than the growing spiderlings (relative to body size) and perhaps different nutrition (more protein? higher calorie food? I dont know.)
I think that probably feeding high quality food to feeders is probably more important than food variety. Nutrition for predators is less complicated than for herbivores. Predators are building an animal (themselves) out of animal (their prey) rather than an animal out of plants. If your feeders are healthy, your T is probably getting adequate nutrition. There is probably some optimization that could be done, but getting food regularly, is probably better than many get in nature.
 

cacoseraph

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I think that probably feeding high quality food to feeders is probably more important than food variety. Nutrition for predators is less complicated than for herbivores. Predators are building an animal (themselves) out of animal (their prey) rather than an animal out of plants. If your feeders are healthy, your T is probably getting adequate nutrition. There is probably some optimization that could be done, but getting food regularly, is probably better than many get in nature.
see, i agree with you for the most part. predators have simpler digestive tracts, usually, too. shorter also, for higher animals, dunno about bugs.

but the main reason why i try to feed my feeders one of everything safe is that i am afraid that there are trace "elements" (either literal elements or vitamins or something) that the spider needs almost none of... but when it gets to too low of a level random bad things happen. my mine fear is hurting reproductive health cuz the spider is missing a critical little something to make the egg or sperm cells or whatever
 

sparular

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Good point Cacoseraph. For a made up example, maybe roaches fed on dog chow don't have any selinium or some other trace mineral. I agree that diversity in diet is probably good, but I don't think that a "well rounded diet" on a regular basis is going to show much different growth or fertility than a spider that is fed a single food 90% of the time and given some variety once every one or two months (for adults).
However, I feed my tarantulas roaches, crickets, and mealworms and I feed those feeders a variety of vegetable table scraps and fortified grains for the reasons illuminated in the previous discussion, but I doubt my T's would be very different if I only fed them crickets grown on cat chow. I also have never bred tarantulas so I plead ignorance on diet for breeding.
 

julesee

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Jul 14, 2007
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47
I gut load my feeders full of calcium and vitamin D. I also give them a slice of orange. Just best if theres some type of calcium in their food though.
 

christin

Arachnosquire
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Jun 1, 2007
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Much of the research on exoskeletal development is in economic entomology (think ants and termites).

As for our pets, it was stated many times at Acon and I fully agree and have said this many times, people overfeed!

What information are you looking for exactly?

Christian
I would love to find specifics on how much calcium and other minerals. I have recently decided to feed my T's less--I've got some fatties! and A P. platus who will cheerfully eat 2 lg. crickets a day. So, I'm also curious as to how often is best, without over feeding. I have spiderlings through subadults, so I imagine that makes a difference.

Other than that, THANK YOU ALL for the great imput on varing the diet of the feeders. I have started to do that with the crickets, but I am also going to start putting more variety in for the roaches as well.
 

adonis

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Jun 30, 2007
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Nature Zone Total Bites for Feeder Insects

I use the Total Bites from anture Zone. They are convient and have a very good amino acid breakdown. I also will throw in some veggies once and a while. I'm only using crickets as a feeder insect though.



Nature Zone Total Bites for Feeder Insects

Description:
Food, water and gutload in one easy step! Nutritional - 51 amino acids, vitamins and minerals. Soft, moist, ready-to-eat. Digestible by insects and herps. All-in-one diet with Spirulina. Recommended for: Crickets, mealworms, super worms, hissing cockroaches, tarantulas, and other insects and arachnids Use with: Nature's Zone's Essential, Essential Vitamins, Essential Probiotics, and Essential Salts, for a complete dietary regimen.

Ingredients:
Carrageenan, whey protein, soy protein, maltodextrin, fructose, lechitin, locust bean gum, calcium lactate, spirulina, potassium sorbate, citric acid, ascorbic acid, methylparaben, FD&C Yellow 5, FD&C Blue 1.

Analysis:
Crude protein (min) 3.05%, crude fat (min) .10%, crude fiber (max) .45%, moisture (max) 91.07%.
 

kimski

Arachnosquire
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Apr 13, 2006
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What's your opinion on the Cricket feeder 'gel' material?

I recently got an A. versi and a P. irminia. I've been using the "cricket-chow" gel stuff and feeding the crix bananas in addition. From the post I see I should 'up' their protein and calcium, etc. Thanks, Kim Ski
 

cacoseraph

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I recently got an A. versi and a P. irminia. I've been using the "cricket-chow" gel stuff and feeding the crix bananas in addition. From the post I see I should 'up' their protein and calcium, etc. Thanks, Kim Ski
er... nobody has provided any hard data yet. people are just saying what they do. even if they are very succesful in their bug raising they still haven't proven anything about anything.

this is very much the realm of hard experimentation. lol. too "hard" for me to even think about doing.
 

cacoseraph

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Good point Cacoseraph. For a made up example, maybe roaches fed on dog chow don't have any selinium or some other trace mineral. I agree that diversity in diet is probably good, but I don't think that a "well rounded diet" on a regular basis is going to show much different growth or fertility than a spider that is fed a single food 90% of the time and given some variety once every one or two months (for adults).
However, I feed my tarantulas roaches, crickets, and mealworms and I feed those feeders a variety of vegetable table scraps and fortified grains for the reasons illuminated in the previous discussion, but I doubt my T's would be very different if I only fed them crickets grown on cat chow. I also have never bred tarantulas so I plead ignorance on diet for breeding.
i have this picture in my head of trace elements being given to babies from mom... and there is some critical one that the first WC's have plenty of but subsequent generations have gotten less and less of. something critical to hormones or something. dunno if it is even possible given the mechanisms of tara reproduction and a distinct lack of, you know, an umbilicus.

amusingly enough, for some reason selenium was the "for sake of argument" element i use in my head, when i am talking to myself, like.
 

forhorsmn

Arachnosquire
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Jun 29, 2007
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Gel

The gel work great for my crix. But I also found a gel that is supposed to be ok for T's. I'm not really sure about trying this due to all the posts I've seen saying that this is a bad idea. What do you think.:confused: (A little off topic. Sorry)
 

kimski

Arachnosquire
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Apr 13, 2006
Messages
86
Hi forhorsmn - What is the Tarantula gel that you mentioned? I'm curious.... Can you give me the name of it? I'll search the posts to see what the comments are.... just curious. I'm also curious about the 'canned' cricket food that's been discussed, too. I hate the necessary evil of mangling the crickets when I feed... Take care, Kim Ski
 
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